Appearing on The View on Thursday, Chris Rock explained how he was recently diagnosed with a condition called NVLD, or Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, and that at first, he thought he might have Asperger syndrome.
“[I took] a battery of tests, like nine hours of tests,” he said. “They came back and said, ‘You don’t have Asperger’s, but you have something very close to it, and it’s called NVLD, Non-Verbal Learning Disorder.”
He previously mentioned the diagnosis in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, and told The View co-hosts how NVLD affects him.
“One of the things is I have a hard time picking up social cues,” Rock said. “Like when I talk to people, I hear the words, but if you’re mad at me, if you’re feeling a certain way, I might have a hard time picking that up.”
Rock noted that this isn’t a recent development but likely has been with him for a while. He recalled how even back in his early comedy days, View co-host and comedian Joy Behar and fellow comic Susie Essman realized something was different about him.
“Every now and then Joy and Susie Essman would pull me to the side and kind of give me an etiquette lesson,” he said. “Like, ‘Dude, what’s up with you?’ ...They even knew back then that I was a little off.”
Joy remembered one such incident, when Rock was going to give her a ride home. “You said, ‘Sure, get in the car,’ and the whole ride you were on the phone talking to someone else,” Behar said. “I was like, ‘OK, I guess I’m not here right now’ — that might be an example.”
Rock ended by saying that before his diagnosis, he struggled with anxiety over not knowing what was wrong with him, and that it fed into some of his frantic behavior.
“I used to have a squirrel-like energy …you can’t sneak up on a squirrel, it’s always alert, he’s scared all the time,” he said. “And that’s gone. I’m much more relaxed now.”